Well, yesterday was nervewracking 🙂 I did my class at BRE and generally, I think it went off pretty well!
I managed to get into the shop a little early and get set up and sorted before the students came. I had a total of seven students – all new to spinning. It was terrifying as hell that moment you get up and start talking and everyone is starting at you waiting for you to impart knowledge!
The morning we spent learning about different fibres – we had samples of fleece, different sheep breeds and types of silk – so everyone could get to grips with staple length, and how you draft something like mohair differently to camel. Next up was learning about twist – how twist turns fibres into yarn and how it adds strength. We used our fingers and legs to create everyone’s very first short length of plied yarn!
After that was discovering how the spindle can speed up that process of creating and storing yarn. Then it was onto park and draft – which took us up till lunchtime. Everyone got a good chunk of time spent practicing P&D, finding out what might make drafting easier or more difficult, and how much twist is too much or too little.
After lunch we learned about plying and everyone made their first 2 ply yarns. We talked about different ways of managing yarn and plying and how you’d create a 3 ply or a chain-plied yarn. As everyone went back to their spindles to try their other fibres and get some more spinning time we we covered off what makes a yarn strong or soft and how you finish a yarn once you’re done with plying.
As a teacher, it was really nice to see how everyone was spinning much thinner by the afternoon. It also makes you feel good for including traditionally “advanced” fibres such as tussah silk, merino/silk blends, mohair and camel in the kits – a number of the students found the merino easier to draft than the cheviot – and some who couldn’t get the hang of camel earlier in the afternoon were quite happily spinning it towards the end of the session.
It’s definitely given me a feel for how I’ll alter the schedule next time – there’s things I want to elaborate on, or cover in a different order. It’d also be good to try and put together some notes I can include in the student’s bags. I typed up some notes this evening based on the items the guys wanted more information along, together with a list of links of where they can buy more fibre or spindles.
The shop has had good feedback so far. One crazy person even went so far to describe me as a “great teacher”, which gave me the warm fuzzies. Fingers crossed I’ll get asked back to teach a second class. When they all asked me the killer question about how long I had taught for, and I admitted it was my first official class, they all said very nice things along the lines of “ooh you wouldn’t know”.
Amazing that I’ve been stressing about this since July, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – as is always the way. It was certainly a long day though. I never thought I’d struggle to talk for 6 hours, but it was a little more challenging then I had anticipated 🙂
No pics of the class unfortunately, or of the little kits I put together for everyone – but maybe next time when I’m not so paranoid about screwing up!